Collymore’s column: Marcus Rashford’s poor representation, Unai Emery’s future and who should replace Erik Ten Hag at Manchester United

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In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including Marcus Rashford’s decision to be represented by his brothers, where Unai Emery’s fantastic spell at Aston Villa could take him next and a look ahead to this weekend’s Premier League blockbuster between Chelsea and Manchester City, plus much more.


Marcus Rashford has been poorly advised…

I don’t have a problem with family or friends representing players.

There are some great examples of players who are professionally advised by members of their family – Harry Kane for example. He is looked after by his brother, Charlie, and while some may argue Kane’s career could have been better up to this point, he’s certainly not had a bad one and he’s now at a European giant and in with a chance of smashing the all-time record for number of goals scored in a single Bundesliga season, so I am in no way anti-friends or family representation.

However, when it comes to Marcus Rashford, I would definitely consider sounding out a proper, world-renowned agency if I were him. There is always that sense of loyalty and emotional connection among friends and family so I know it may be hard for Rashford to suggest parting ways with his brothers Dane and Dwaine, but there have been instances in his career where he has been poorly advised; one of which is choosing to stay with Manchester United.

The right time for Rashford to leave Old Trafford was three or four years ago. Not only is the club a circus and a total mess, but if Rashford, and his team, had thought it about properly, he could have served as the perfect understudy to Kane in England’s attack. His biggest mistake was agreeing to play on the left wing and not to develop as a central striker. Had Rashford been better advised, his agent would have gone to Manchester United and relayed that.

Unfortunately, there seems to have been little to no career planning on Rashford’s part and some of that blame will have to lie with his representatives.

Erik Ten Hag isn’t the right man for Manchester United…

Erik Ten Hag does not have the personality to carry Manchester United. When you look at Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, they both have the personalities to lead two of the world’s biggest clubs – Ten Hag just does not have it. Whatever ‘it’ is, he doesn’t have it.

Being Manchester United manager comes with immense responsibility but whenever I look at Ten Hag on the sidelines, he just doesn’t fill me with confidence. It’s quite the opposite actually – he looks like a rabbit caught in headlights, especially whenever United fall behind.

I know the club try not to sack their managers during a season but he has got to go. If the Glazers and Sir Jim Ratcliffe decide to stick with Ten Hag for the time being, fine, but come the end of the season they must do everything in their power to get Roberto De Zerbi out of Brighton and Hove Albion.

Let De Zerbi come in and ship out all the deadwood. He’s a beast, he wouldn’t mess around.

Not only that, but he would almost certainly get the best out of their underperforming squad. He can mould a team to play the ‘Manchester United way’, and make no mistake if he took charge at United and was in a press conference following a defeat he’d make it known to the players that their performance wasn’t good enough. No ifs or buts, if De Zerbi said they must improve, they would have to improve or risk being let go.

It’s really simple for me – Ten Hag should get sacked, and if Manchester United are serious about changing to this coaching philosophy and having a proper managerial presence around the place then De Zerbi is their man.

Gracias, Unai Emery…

Firstly, you have to pay the ultimate respect to a manager who goes into any club and turns the playing side of things around so quickly, and that is exactly what Unai Emery has done at my beloved Aston Villa.

I was at the club the other day and when I spoke to people and asked what it’s like to work with Emery, they all said the same thing. They said he’s a workaholic who is at work from stupid o’clock to 9 p.m. every night. The man lives and breathes football, and apparently, his attention to detail is second to none.

Secondly, he, and Villa, are enjoying a fine campaign. They look on course to progress in Europe and are fifth in the Premier League table. Obviously, as a Villain myself, I am delighted but I would be lying if I said there aren’t concerns Emery could get looked at by one of the European big boys, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, come the end of the season. Although I don’t think one of the Spanish giants would take him now, if he were to get Villa to the Conference League final and qualify for Europe through their league position, then I wouldn’t rule out an approach from one of them. The same goes for Manchester United. I know De Zerbi would be my pick to succeed Ten Hag, but I would be amazed if United hadn’t already spoken to Emery’s agent.

I actually think Emery would want to stay at Villa, even if he was approached by one of the big clubs. He is a manager who has a lot of power where he is, he’s also adored by the fans, and let’s not forget – Villa isn’t a small club, so unless another team come in and matches, or betters, what he’s got going for him in the Midlands, why would he go anywhere else?

Chelsea will score this weekend but Manchester City will take all three points…

The featured game in the Premier League this weekend is Chelsea vs. Manchester City.

It’s a free hit for Pochettino and his Blues side. They’ll look at this game and know they’re huge underdogs, and rightly so, and say ‘Let’s just go for it’.

I think the home team will score but I still expect City will come out on top. I think the full-time result will be either 2-1 or 3-1 City.

More Stories Erik ten Hag Marcus Rashford Stan Collymore Unai Emery